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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 26 March, 2019

Cheers Leinster! Connacht players celebrate another year of Heineken Cup rugby

The Blues’ Amlin Cup win confirmed elite European rugby for the westerners next season.

LEINSTER FLANKER SHANE JENNINGS called it a happy coincidence but Connacht’s players had plenty of superlatives to capture their joy at qualifying for a third season of Heineken Cup rugby.

Leinster’s 34-13 win in last night’s Amlin Challenge Cup Final confirmed the westerner’s place in Europe’s elite competition for the third time in succession. The Blues’ Heineken Cup wins in 2011 and 2012 also benefited Connacht.

There would have been some tense moments out west as Stade Francais rallied, albeit briefly, in the second-half but a late Cian Healy try sealed Connacht’s qualification. Here is how some of their players reacted:

Dave McSharry jumped the gun the moment Cian Healy crashed over for his try.

Full-time and Denis Buckley was first to tweet his thanks.

Swiftly followed by winger Tiernan O’Halloran.

Jennings, speaking to post-match, Jennings was unaware that his team’s win had meant a Heineken Cup leg-up for Connacht but expressed his delight with the outcome. With Mike McCarthy arriving at Leinster next season, is H-Cup rugby and winger Fionn Carr a fair trade?

He said, “It’s sad to see Fionn go as he’s a Leinster lad and has done well for us over the last couple of years and has worked very hard. There was a lot of competition in his area [wing] so good luck to him.

Mike, coming in, is a quality player and we’re delighted to have him. There was enough messing going on about [his move] in the media so I’m sure he’ll be happy to get here and get going.”

‘Myself and Leo thought it was fitting for the lads to lift the cup’ – Jamie Heaslip

As it happened: Leinster v Stade Francais, Amlin Challenge Cup Final

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Patrick McCarry

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